The Desert Was Never Hotter!
Pride and passion vie for supremacy in this steamy retelling of E.M. Hull's romance classic.
A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground…
A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…
"There will be inquiries." I choked out. "I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay for what you have done."
"Pay?" His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. "I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides," he continued, "the French Government has no jurisdiction over me. There is no authority here above my own."
My trepidation was growing every passing minute. "Why have you done this? Why brought me here?"
"Why?" He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. "Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?"
When pride and passion vie for supremacy... blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…
"Look at me."
I shivered, my downcast gaze wavering only briefly before defying him again.
"Look at me." An inflection had crept into his low tone that was unmistakably commanding.
I lifted my gaze with great reluctance and met his in the mirror. Though I wanted to, I could not look away from his handsome sun-bronzed face with those inscrutable eyes. They were not black as I had thought, but the deepest indigo blue. Dark and intense, they burned into me. I was fascinated. Mesmerized.
He swung me around to him, taking my chin in hand and tilting it upward. "Bon Dieu! Do you know how beautiful you are?" His gaze dropped to my clothing, and his eyes became fierce again, his stern mouth parting in a cruel show of teeth. "Perhaps you are unaware that Zilah shall be severely punished for your foolish rebellion?"
"No!" I cried, straining back as far as his grip allowed. "It wasn't her fault. I sent her away."
"You sent her away before my wishes were carried out?"
"Will you kill her too? Like you did the horse?" I accused. "If you kill everything that does not obey you, you might as well shoot me now!"
"I will deal with the girl as it suits me." His glower had broken, replaced by a mixture of mild anger and patent amusement. "As to you, ma belle, it appears I must be your valet, as well as your lover."
"Lover?" I gave a contemptuous laugh. "Is that how you perceive yourself?"
He lifted a brow above his fathomless eyes. "You question my prowess?"
I remained stoically defiant, letting my silence speak.
His black brows met in a thunderous scowl. "There are many things you must learn, ma chère. Of utmost import to your well-being is that, save only for Allah, there is no will in this camp above my own." He continued impassively, "I could have you now, you know. In this very moment, I could tear your clothes, throw you down on that bed, and take you any way and as many times as I wish." He paused, smiling at the flare of fear in my eyes. "Fortunately for you, that is not my wish…at present."
He stroked the pad of his thumb over my lips. His expression grew almost whimsical. "Shall I make you care, cherie? Shall I make it your deepest desire, your only desire, to please me? I can make any woman love me when I choose."
He was amusing himself at my expense. He did not care if I hated or loved him, but was only enjoying a new form of torture, one that was even more detestable than anything that had gone before it. The mere suggestion that I could ever care for him, that I would ever look on him as anything but a brutal savage, infuriated me. I felt degraded and soiled that he would class me with the other women he spoke of. "I would rather you killed me," I replied coldly.
"So would I." He chuckled drily. "If you loved me, you would bore me to death.
Victoria Vane is an award-winning romance novelist, cowboy addict and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.
Look for Victoria's Contemporary Cowboy Series coming summer 2014 from Sourcebooks
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